State Dept to Keep ‘Mother,’ ‘Father’ Categories on Birth Abroad Records and Add ‘Gender Neutral’ ‘Parent’ Option

By Penny Starr | January 19, 2011 | 5:33am EST

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (AP Photo/Maneesh Bakshi)

(CNSNews.com) – The State Department is again revising the form it uses to document children of U.S. citizens born in another country, allowing the categories of “mother” and “father” to remain while adding a third “gender neutral” option of “parent.”

Last month the State Department announced on its Web site that it was removing the “mother” and “father” categories on birth records of children born abroad to U.S. citizens and replacing them with the “gender neutral” designation of “parent.”

The press release said the change was “in recognition of different types of families.”

Pro-family groups complained and pro-homosexual groups offered praise.

On Tuesday, CNSNews.com contacted the State Department to inquire about the new document and was told that it would still include the words “mother” and “father.” The State Department said the document was finalized with the input of  Secretary Hillary Clinton.

“With Sec. Clinton’s input, we have since decided to revise the form to retain the existing designations of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ in addition to the designation of ‘parent,’” Harry Edwards, press officer with the State Department, told CNSNews.com.

Back on Dec. 22, the State Department had posted a press release on its Web site announcing what it called “improvements” on form FS-240, which was first introduced at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world in 1919 to document the citizenship of children born abroad of U.S. citizens.

The press release said the new Consular Report on Birth Abroad (CRBA) had “state-of-the-art security features” to prevent forgery and that the “gender neutral” designation of “parent” would replace “mother” and “father.

“Applications for U.S. passports and the redesigned CRBA will also use the title of ‘parent’ as opposed to ‘mother’ and ‘father,’” the press released stated. “These improvements are being made to provide a gender neutral description of a child’s parents and in recognition of different types of families.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement that the removal of motherhood and fatherhood from the government document took “political correctness to a whole new level.”

"Only in the topsy-turvy world of left-wing political correctness could it be considered an 'improvement' for a birth-related document to provide less information about the circumstances of that birth,” said Perkins.

"This is clearly designed to advance the causes of same-sex 'marriage' and homosexual parenting without statutory authority, and violates the spirit if not the letter of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),” Perkins said. “But it does so at the expense of fundamental biological reality -- and social reality as well.

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“The State Department's abolition of motherhood and fatherhood would be almost comical, if it did not fly in the face of the mounting social science evidence that children are most likely to thrive when born into a family led by their own married biological mother and father,” Perkins said.

Fred Sainz, vice president of the gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, was quoted in a Jan. 8 article in The Washington Post as saying that removing “mother” and “father” was "a positive step forward for all American families.”

“It was time that the federal government acknowledged the reality that hundreds of thousands of kids in this country are being raised by same-sex parents,” Sainz said.

Edwards said the latest version of FS-240 is awaiting final approval before it will become available online or from other sources.

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